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A Brief History of Salesforce.com’s Marketing Acquisitions

3 min readJune 12, 2013

We’re occasionally asked why we chose to target our initial product line toward Salesforce.com customers. While Salesforce is currently the world’s largest CRM vendor, that only happened recently. One of the main reasons we partnered with Salesforce is because they’ve grown their business, in part, through smart acquisitions. Each new acquisition adds new dimensions to the CRM platform’s marketing functionality, brings more marketing teams into the customer base, and helps enable sales.

Let’s briefly explore how Salesforce.com built its Marketing Cloud.


Salesforce Acquires Exact Target

After building a diversified suite of social media marketing tools, Salesforce.com recently expanded their Marketing Cloud with the $2.5 B acquisition of ExactTarget, and with it, marketing automation provider Pardot.

The ExactTarget acquisition is Salesforce.com’s first step toward an integrated marketing suite that extends beyond social media. Marketing technology budgets are rapidly expanding as they hunt for the right tools to communicate with customers, optimize their efforts and prove results. In order to deliver a unified customer experience (CX), CMOs are hungry for an all-in-one solution to solve a variety of marketing problems. This often requires CMOs to adopt disconnected tools to handle different marketing functions, leading to data silos. Sure, some of these tools can be connected to a CRM, but these integrations are often costly and complicated.

Salesforce’s ExactTarget acquisition put to rest the question of which marketing automation solution the CRM giant would purchase. Following Oracle’s acquisition of marketing automation platform Eloqua, it seemed inevitable that Salesforce would acquire a rival company.  There was speculation that Salesforce might go after Marketo, but Marketo’s recent successful IPO made such an acquisition less feasible. Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benihoff has publicly acknowledged Pardot’s value to the deal. While ExactTarget offers rich email marketing capabilities, Pardot’s Sales and Marketing alignment features are an excellent fit with Salesforce.com’s single platform vision.

“Marketing automation has been one piece of the CRM puzzle that has stood alone among specialists for a long time,” stated Mary Wardley, Vice President, Enterprise Applications and CRM Software, IDC. “It hasn’t had the expectation that it had to be part of the overall suite. As the market has evolved over time, things that were best of breed or standalone increasingly pieces of functionality in the total platform, and that’s what’s happening here.”

While the ExactTarget buyout is sure to be a game-changer, some of their earlier acquisitions might play an important role in securing the CRM giant’s dominance as social media continues to disrupt marketing processes.

Buddy Media

Salesforce.com Acquisition Buddy MediaIn 2012, Salesforce.com acquired leading social media marketing platform Buddy Media. Buddy Media’s mission, according to their former CEO Michael Lazerow, was to “eliminate the current state of anarchy in social media marketing.” By adding Buddy Media to its Marketing Cloud, Salesforce.com now enables its customers to publish social content, place and optimize social ads and monitor and measure the effectiveness of these ad engagements in real time. The Buddy Media acquisition was a strong strategic move for Saleforce.com, as the social marketing platform boasted 8 out of the 10 top global advertisers as customers.


Salesforce Acquisition Radian6Prior to officially launching its Marketing Cloud, Salesforce.com acquired social media listening platform Radian6 for $276 million in cash and $50 million in stocks. Radian6 was designed to help brands monitor what customers and prospects say across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube in order to gain actionable insights. Social media is becoming increasingly vital to sales, marketing and customer service processes. In fact, Marcel LeBrun, SVP of Salesforce Radian6 called social “the biggest transformation in marketing since the Mad Men era.”

At Revenue.io we couldn’t agree more. That’s why we built social media listening functionality into our mobile applications as well as offer marketers the ability to track calls from social media URLs and ads.

Salesforce for Google Adwords

Before the Marketing Cloud was even a glint in Marc Benioff’s eye, Salesforce.com displayed an interest in acquiring powerful marketing tools. In 2006, Salesforce acquired Kieden, which became known post-acquisition as Salesforce for Google Adwords (SFGA). SFGA enabled Salesforce customers to connect their AdWords account with their CRM to track the leads, opportunities and revenue that resulted from their AdWords campaigns. While Salesforce.com recently retired SFGA, there are now other products available that offer the same functionality. For example, Salesforce customers can get excellent insight into their Google AdWords ROI from Daddy Analytics, which we found works well with our call tracking product.